I’ve never really been the type of person to get into fashion trends. As styles such as neon colours, animal prints, and white sneakers came into the spotlight, I never felt inspired enough to buy into them. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping, especially thrifting. I will spend hours each day perusing Depop and essentially stalk brands such as Paloma Wool and Unif to see if they’ve come out with any new pieces. However, most of the styles and clothing items that catch my eye are pieces that I find practical, timeless, comfortable, and funky. My father often tells me that I dress like an elderly man in the 70s, which I believe to be the best compliment that one could ever dream of receiving. I often don’t feel comfortable dressing in a traditionally feminine manner. There are some days where I feel extremely in tune with my gender and want to dress stereotypically feminine, but there are also many instances where I enjoy dressing more masculine and feel much more comfortable doing so.
Over the past year we have seen a lot of social change, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the push to normalize the inclusion of pronouns in social media and in the workplace, and the results of the U.S. Presidential Election. While these events and changes may seem to have nothing to do with current fashion trends, political and social movements actually have an immense influence on the fashion and arts community. We as a society have begun to break down barriers concerning race, gender, and sexuality, and this has allowed people to feel more comfortable in terms of expressing themselves and being true to who they are in a public way. Women are no longer forced to dress a certain way, dress codes in schools are being resolved, and in the past 20 years the LGBTQ2IA+ community has gained so much more awareness. In addition, many celebrities have also begun to express themselves through their clothes and break down barriers between gender and fashion. This has normalized a lot of the fashion statements and trends of the queer community, creating a more accepting environment. For example, on November 13th, Harry Styles became the first man to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine. What is arguably even more notable about this cover is the fact that Styles is wearing a dress. Other public figures, such as Timothée Chalamet and Billy Porter, have also broken gender norms by donning more feminine garments in magazine shoots and on the red carpet. This progress in the fashion world has made me extremely proud of our society, and of our fashion industry.
Women have also been breaking down barriers in the realm of fashion and gender, which has affected my style immensely. When I was about 8 years old I had very short hair (it was practically a bowl-cut). I was also a very active child, often dressing in cargo shorts and graphic T-shirts. I just wanted to wear what was comfortable and what I could easily play in, but unfortunately my lack of “style” back then resulted in a lot of teasing.
I was also occasionally mistaken for a boy, which definitely did not help my self-esteem. As I grew up, I felt myself attempting to conform to traditional feminine norms, growing my hair out and wearing crop tops and shorts that barely covered anything. The older I get, the less I care about what others think, which I think explains why some elderly women dress in an almost gaudy style. Recently, I began to notice that garments such as oversized jackets, loose button-up shirts, baggy trousers, and sweater vests were starting to become popular. As someone who has always struggled with body dysmorphia and self-confidence, baggier clothes have always appealed to me. In my opinion, there is nothing more attractive than a woman in an oversized peacoat and a pair of plaid trousers.
When this style started to gain popularity, I noticed how accessible and inclusive it is. No matter your body type, your gender, or your clothing budget, you are able to participate in this more masculine-forward trend. One can easily find pieces such as drapey button-up shirts, knit sweaters, and over-coats at thrift stores. This oversized aesthetic has been present in the world of fashion for hundreds of years, it just hasn’t reached this level of exposure until now. In the 1500s, men started dressing in a more relaxed style, draping large coats over partially open button up shirts, and placing caps precariously on their heads. This style was referred to as “sprezzatura,” which essentially means “a studied carelessness.” The drapery and relaxed fit that the term embodies is what many women have been embracing in 2020.
Celebrities such as Saoirse Ronan and Zendaya have embraced this trend and appeared on the covers of magazines wearing masculine clothes with slicked back or cropped hair. This has allowed women to feel more accepted and comfortable when dressing in more masculine attire. This trend has honestly made me feel more at peace with the way I like to dress and has inspired me to even lean into my masculine side even more. About a month ago, I was dressed in a large leather jacket, a cap, a pair of baggy trousers, with my hair tied up, when an older woman referred to me as “sir,” and unlike my reaction to such a comment when I was younger, I actually felt complimented.
HEADER SOURCE IMAGE & ALL PHOTO SOURCES:
Model: Stephanie Fung – @thesillybilly
Photographer: Lisbet MacLean – @lisbetmaclean
Creative Director: Ben Evans-Duran – @ben.e.d
Make Up Artist: Mariangela Casarella – @mariangela.casarella